Controversy surrounding six Dr. Seuss books sparked a discussion as to whether the books are appropriate for students to read.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced it will no longer publish six titles:
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer.
The company states that the books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.
Some of the books have been criticized for their imagery of Black and Asian people.
“”I don’t think that’s ever a good idea. That’s not what’s happening here. The books aren’t being banned. They’re just no longer going to be published,” Heather Ellis, a parent of a middle school student said.
Ellis admits she hasn’t seen the controversial images within the Dr. Seuss books.
The Alabama State Department of Education, Birmingham City Schools, and Etowah County Schools all confirmed there are no discussions underway about removing Dr. Seuss books from library shelves.
“We haven’t had those discussions, in fact I’m just leaving an elementary school where I participated in Read Across America Day and actually was able to read a Dr. Seuss book,” Dr. Alan Cosby, Superintendent of Etowah County Schools said.
Some believe these books with controversial images have to be put in historical context.
“All media are a product of their time. The question is not ‘does it hold up? The question is not ‘should we forgive it?’ It’s what can we learn about media, culture, and society at that point in time, today,” Jessica Maddox, an assistant professor of Digital Media at the University of Alabama said. “That by no means excuses any offensive or stereotypical content we may see but it provides context.”
Despite the controversy surrounding certain Dr. Seuss books, the Gadsden Public Library says the books will stay on its shelves.
Craig Scott, Library Director of the Gadsden Public Library says his team discussed the issue after the announcement from Dr. Seuss Enterprises.
Management at the library say they are not in the business of censorship.
Scott says libraries typically celebrate “Banned Books Week,” which focuses on controversial books.
The library has at least three out of the six controversial Dr. Seuss books.
It also has other books in its catalog that have been challenged or questioned in the past.
“What I’ve found is books that have controversy surrounding them, it’s an opportunity to have discussions, especially during events like Banned Books Week,” Jillian Reeves, the Children’s Department Manager at the Gadsden Because some parents they’re not really aware of why books were challenged. It’s an opportunity to maybe bring a new subject up to the table for discussion.”
Daniel Tackett, President of The Alabama Library Association says its executive council has not yet issued a statement regarding this issue.